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Lashkar commander shot dead in Kashmir


New Delhi/Jammu : A top commander of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), who had hatched a failed conspiracy to assassinate Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, was shot dead in a pre-dawn gun battle in Doda area Wednesday, police said.

"Abu Ammar, a Pakistan national and chief LeT commander of Jammu region carrying a reward of Rs.1 million, was neutralized in a joint operation conducted by Delhi Police's Special Cell, Kashmir Police and the army in a fierce gun battle in Bhaderwah district," Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police Karnal Singh said.

Highly sophisticated arms and ammunitions, including Ak-47 rifle, and a laptop carrying secret information related to military deployment across the country was seized from him.

A tip-off had alerted police that the militant was hiding in a house in Ganai Mohalla of Bhaderwah, about 210 km northeast of Jammu.

Police said that a woman, used as protection shield, was killed and one soldier received critical bullet injuries during the operation that lasted several hours.

"The militant lobbed a grenade towards a residential house when the inmates refused him shelter after he attempted to flee from the hideout. The grenade exploded near the door killing a woman," Singh said.

According to police, Ummar had planned and executed a number of terror strikes across the country and was on the police radar after his three accomplices were arrested in April this year from Dilli Haat in south Delhi.

"On April 11, 2007 Ummar plotted to slay Azad at his first ever public rally in newly created Ramban district but it was foiled by police with the arrest of four militants.

"He was also wanted in various terrorist activities including killing of Kashmir Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Shelly Singh in May 2007," Singh added.

Police said Ummar, also known as Ustaadji, was operating in the Kashmir valley for nine years and had opened a training centre in Doda area, where he used to impart training to the militants.

Manohar Singh, senior superintendent of Kashmir Police, said: "He was involved in a large number of militancy related activities in Doda and in the Kashmir Valley."

The killing comes a few days after the Central Investigation of Bureau (CBI) had submitted a report to the Delhi High Court, accusing the Special Cell of falsely branding and implicating two Kashmiri youths as members of terror outfit Al-Badr last year.